Cliff Lee Pretty Much Ready for Anything at Trade Deadline

Cliff Lee Pretty Much Ready for Anything at Trade Deadline

When Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports paid a visit to Citizens Bank Park on Friday for Phillies-Brewers Game 1 and didn't much talk to Domonic Brown, you began to wonder why he bothered.

Welp...

Said Cliff Lee, when asked if he is prepared to be shipped out in, oh, 56 days:

“Yeah, pretty much. Nothing I can do about it, so I’m not going to get too caught up in it.”

Not much of a surprise. With Chase Utley's injury and Carlos Ruiz's iffy production, Lee's really the only marketable commodity for a team likely on the precipice of pushing the reset button. More interesting, then, are some details of that 20-team no-trade clause. (Talk radio, you're welcome.) Morosi provides some deets:

The New York YankeesBoston Red SoxTexas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles are among the 20 teams that would need Lee’s permission to acquire him, the sources told FOXSports.com.

Morosi notes the smart money is on the Rangers and Orioles, probably because Yankee fans blew it for New York and the Red Sox are pretty thin on the farm. Baltimore's got a nice little offense down there (second in MLB in runs scored) but their 4.85 starter ERA will otherwise keep them out of the postseason. The Rangers have lost much (Matt Harrison, Alexi Ogando and Colby Lewis all on the DL) and up-and-comers Nick Tepesch and Justin Grimm are too green to be relied on in October.

Assuming Lee would sign off on a deal.

Of course, if it were up to Lee, who may or may not have signed in here in Winter 2010 because of how the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia could treat his special-needs son, he'd probably rather stay put.

A reminder why we're having this conversation: even if the Phillies have to eat a considerable amount of the $62.5 million he's due for two years after this season, none of which they're likely to be competitive for anyway, if done right, dangling a left-handed former Cy Young winner could net some serious prospects. And because trading Cole Hamels would be dumb.

Leaving you with this, a depressing quotable on the nature of the MLB trade deadline beast, from a guy who's lived it three times:

“Every time I’ve been traded, before that every organization would say, ‘You’ll be the first one to know if we’re ever going to move you,’” Lee said, recalling that he learned of each trade while watching television. “I was the last one to know every time.”

*

Enrico's note: this post originally said Cliff Lee "expected to be traded" at the deadline. We kind of jumped the gun on assuming that phrasing. Morosi's title says Lee is "fully prepared to be traded again." We apologize for this confusion.

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

Shocker: Phillies interested in getting one of baseball's best players

We're all looking forward to the free-agent class of 2018.

If Maikel Franco doesn't shape up, the Phillies could make a hard push for Manny Machado. Franco after a two-game benching is back in the lineup for this afternoon's game against the Rockies (see story).

Then, of course, there's Bryce Harper, who earlier this month agreed to a one-year, $21,625,000 deal for next season. 

And guess what? If Harper becomes a free agent after next season, the Phillies would be interested in signing him.

Really?

According to a FanRagSportsNetwork, citing a Phillies source, the Phils would be interested luring Harper to Philly.

Shocker. 

It'd be big news if a Phillies source said the team wasn't interested in signing Harper. 

Anyway, the story also quotes a National League scout.

“Could you imagine what he could do in that ballpark playing 81 games a year in that bandbox?” the scout said.

Chances are every Phillies fan has already imagined it. Harper this season alone is hitting .351/.400/.784 with five homers and 12 RBIs in nine games against the Phils. In three games at the Bank, he's hitting just .250 with a homer and two RBIs.

But in 38 career games at CBP, he's hitting .296/.361/.627 with 12 home runs and 26 RBIs.

In 89 career games against the Phillies, he's hitting .282 with 20 homers and 54 RBIs.

At the risk of stating the obvious, here's one thing to remember: If the Phils sign Harper, then he'd no longer benefit from facing them.

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Today's Lineup: Franco batting cleanup as Phillies try to snap skid

Well, this hasn't gone well. 

Coming into Thursday afternoon's game against the Rockies, the Phillies have lost five straight. They've lost nine of their last 10. They've lost 20 of their last 24. 

At 15-29, they're not just the worst team in the NL East. They're not just the worst team in the National League. 

Through 44 games, the Phillies are the worst team in baseball. 

Just to make it to a .500 record this season, they would need to go 66-52 (.559) the rest of the way. 

Their four-game series against the Rockies will mercifully come to a close on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. In the first three games of the series -- all losses -- the Phils have been outscored 23-5. 

Maikel Franco returns to the four-hole as the Phillies try to snap out of their funk.

The Phillies on Thursday also activated right-handed pitcher Jeanmar Gomez from the disabled list. Gomez takes Adam Morgan's spot on the roster. Morgan was reassigned to Triple A Lehigh Valley after throwing three scoreless innings during the Phillies' 7-2 loss to the Rockies.

Gomez hasn't pitched since May 4 because of an elbow injury. He began the season as the Phillies' closer but was demoted after blowing two saves and allowing seven runs in his first five innings. In 11 1/3 innings this season, Gomez has a 7.94 ERA.

Here's the full lineup: 

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Aaron Altherr, LF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Michael Saunders, RF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Vince Velasquez, P